Action > narrative. Or, at least, action becomes the narrative that people ultimately truly believe.
The GOP insists that African-Americans and Latinos share values with the average conservative. They're not exactly wrong. Both groups have large segments that lean socially conservative.
The GOP, though, seems (seemed?) content assuming that their message will reach significant parts of those groups merely by stating their message, rather than getting out on the ground and connecting with people in the community. That is, choosing narrative over action.
The Obama campaign's focus on/ability to mobilize and put people on the ground to get their message out & connect with people made the difference. It's the demonstration of actual concern in action instead of the assumption that their message resonates.
Data is important and, arguably, O's team were monsters in collecting it and making sense of it. I'd be willing to bet, though, that Romney's team compiled data that would have been helpful but data is only helpful if you truly act on it in a meaningful way.
To me, it's telling that most of the post-election hubbub has Republicans seemingly having a change of heart on immigration issues. That there's been nary a thing said that would indicate trying to bridge the gap with African-Americans and women voters makes me think that the immigration reform talked about is just the quickest, easiest bandaid for the GOP to regain steadiness within the shift in demographics.
Then again, I think everyone should just hug it out. :)